knocking out tile over mortar, tiling over laminate and other foolhardy things [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-07-2003, 12:05 AM
:bang: I am exhausted and I have barely begun. This bathroom project started with replacing the wall board from an old leak. It then grew to removing the sea foam green tile which ran halfway up the wall. I started with a ball peen hammer only to discover my hands wouldn't hold out against the concrete. I then switched to a pneumatic chisel and have half of the tile down after two days. I am left with how to get the remaining concrete down without hurting myself.

Is there a faster way to do this and still do it on my own?

In addition, I want to tile over the formica around my sink. I do not have a saw and am hesitating with buying any more tools for not being able to justify it to my husband. He just shakes his head at me when I announce a new project. He will help me haul out the broken tile.:confused:

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01-07-2003, 06:23 AM
If it makes you feel any better,i'm exhausted just thinking about tearing out a mudset wall ;)
Do you absolutly have to tear this wall out?
The reason it is so difficult to remove,is because it is not meant to be removed. A mudset wall is a wonderful thing and should be kept intact if at all possible.It doesnt get any better than that.
If it gets dinged up removing the tile you can skim coat it with thinset.

01-07-2003, 06:37 AM
You can tile over the formica, but we advise against it. If you have rolled edges (along the front and backsplash), it would be easier to start over with a fresh piece of exteriaor grade plywood (you would have to cut off the rolled edges and backsplash first). But if your laminate top is square edged, then apply a layer of 1/4" CBU everywhere you want tile. Bed the CBU in a layer of thinser, nail or screw the CBU every 4 to 6 inches, then tile on.

A saw is a basic remodeling tool. With the money you will save doing this yourself, you can buy one (or 2)!

John Bridge
01-07-2003, 07:28 AM
Hi Jeanne, Welcome. :)

Hey listen, if you're gonna be a real bonafide weekend warrior, you're gonna hafta get some tools, girl! That's the whole idea. You take on the projects as an excuse to buy expensive tools. :D

I'm with Todd. If you can re-use the mortar, that's the way to go. If it must be removed, you need some heavy equipment. We use a 3 lb. maul quite a bit. The electric demo hammer will make it much easier.

01-07-2003, 09:10 AM
I'm slowly filling my tool chest. In fact, for my birthday this last year, I asked for a tool chest to hold all of these assorted toys.

I want to replace the mud wall with wallboard and then do venetian plaster over it.

I'm afraid you all are going to have to explain some things in further detail. For instance, what is CBU?

I have a squared off laminate so I think I'm okay there. I'm apparently not the first homeowner to attack this bathroom but they weren't foolhardy enough to try and remove the tile. In fact, they slipped the sink cabinet right up to the tile without bothering to remove it which leaves me with an half an inch gap between the laminate and the wall. Dare I ask whether I can slip the tile over it?

And what is thinser?

Sonnie Layne
01-07-2003, 10:00 AM

when I rip out mud walls, I use an electric demo hammer (you can rent them) with the chisel bit. I like to get the pieces out as large as possible and I've found it works much easier and faster if you get under the lath where it's nailed to the studs. Working down the studs (or upward at the top section), you can shear the lathing from the nails and you get large sections a lot faster and easier.

some of the other guys here like to remove the tile and leave the mud. I've found that depends on how well the tile was installed, I've just never had a lot of luck with it in a reasonable amount of time.

CBU, cementitious backer unit, it's what you use for the substrate to install tile on. Several brands. I think you'll find explanation of that in the Liberry (library) forum.

Thinset is the mortar you use to adhere the tile to the substrate. Check the Liberry for that as well.

I wouldn't tile over the laminate/formica countertop. I would recommend you remove the existing countertop, and rebuild with tile in mind. My opinion.

Good luck with your project, keep us posted.

01-07-2003, 10:12 AM
I have the chisel hammer which has helped. I still find, even with gloves, that my hands are being beat to death.

Thanks for the definitions.

If I attempt this tear out of the formica. . . how do I do it? Some of it appears to be loose from the board.

This wall is mounted on chicken wire and then attached to studs. The concrete appears to be about 1 1/2 thick. 1/2 inch where the tile attaches and an additional inch of concrete still left after I shear the tile off.

In my earlier attempts with the ball peen have knocked enough holes that there is not any turning back on removal.

01-07-2003, 10:31 AM
Disconnect the sink plumbing (remember to shut off the water) and remove the sink mounting hardware. Remove the sink. Look under the vanity top (inside the cabinet) for any screws that look like they hold the top down and remove them. Starting at the front of the vanity, pull up. Your vanity top should come off of the cabinet. Use it as a pattern for a new plywood top, making any adjustments in the size or shape to make it fit better.

Do a site search for countertops. We have a lot of folks doing them. They're not hard to do. Of course, by the time you finish with the walls, you'll be an expert tile setter, and the countertop will be a piece of cake! ;)

01-07-2003, 10:38 AM
Thanks, I'll keep you posted.

John Bridge
01-07-2003, 07:26 PM
Did you hear her? Some old timey tile setter used chicken war. Where's Gobis? :D

Sonnie Layne
01-07-2003, 10:09 PM
Ol' timey???

I've never heard of anyone younger than 80 using chiken war!!! :)

That ain't ol' timey, that's historic! She may need a historic preservation specialist!! :D):D) :shades:

01-08-2003, 09:48 AM
My home was built in the 1920s which for Tulsa, is pretty old. This bathroom was an add-on to the original house. I confirmed that when I tore off the molded wallboard to reveal the brick from the original outside. As a matter of fact, they left the original eave jutting into the space about five inches and just enclosed it in a wooden box. ;)

Sonnie Layne
01-08-2003, 10:40 AM
now I'm wondering where the moisture came from...

01-08-2003, 12:09 PM
From the roof where it ties from the original part of the house to the add-on. Three roofers later (and one lawsuit) it no longer leaks. It was finally fixed after we changed the flat roof add-on to a pitched variety.

01-08-2003, 01:39 PM
Jeanne, sounds like you are discovering the joys and mysteries of Oklahoman construction!!:D

I've never tackled a mud wall but I keep a sledge hammer handy during any project. I call it the "massager." Cut about 10" or so off the handle so it's easier to swing in tight places.:p

01-08-2003, 01:50 PM
Where are you in Oklahoma?

01-08-2003, 03:11 PM
Jeanne, I'm out in Tahlequah. Say it fast a couple of times and it doesn't sound so funny.:D

01-08-2003, 03:23 PM
Well, I bet we know a few of the same people.

01-08-2003, 03:39 PM
It's a small world, especially NE Oklahoma!! :nod:

01-08-2003, 03:47 PM
yes, it is. I'll check back in after this weekend when I have tackled the bathroom once again. I am going to try to get a few hours in tonight after work.:yeah:

John Bridge
01-08-2003, 06:42 PM
Okies, Geez.


Sonnie Layne
01-08-2003, 11:19 PM
Isn't there a song like that...???

"I like swingin' in close spaces

where there's ice cold beer and warm chasers.

Shall we stay all night?

Baby tell me it'll be alright.

Listen folks if'n you ain't heard the song afore mentioned then you wouldn't uderstand the words I just tiped out. On the other hand it wouldn't make a heck uvalotta difference, cuz my 'E' string broke smack in the middle of the second chorus.

Who was that sang that song??? Oh... maybe Randy Travis?


:topicoff: Sonnie

01-09-2003, 12:15 PM
Sonnie, the only song that I know of that is close to those lyrics is "I've Got Friends in Low Places" by Garth Brooks.:topicoff:

Bill Vincent
01-09-2003, 03:07 PM
Sounds to me like Cletus T Judd makin Garth's song better!

01-09-2003, 04:29 PM
Merle Haggard sang OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE

Here's the words. This may not be the song you're thinking about.

Okie From Muskogee: Merle Haggard.

Written by Roy Burris and Merle Haggard.
(© Tree Publishing.)
From "Best of the Best of Merle Haggard", © 1967, Capitol.

We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
An' we don't take our trips on LSD.
We don't burn no draft cards down on Main Street;
We like livin' right, an' bein' free.
We don't make no party out of lovin';
We like holdin' hands and pitchin' woo;
We don't let our hair grow long and shaggy,
Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

And I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball.
We still wave 'Old Glory' down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all.

Hey, leather boots are still in style for manly footwear;
Beads and Roman sandals won't be seen.
An' football's still the roughest thing on campus,
And the kids there still respect the college dean.

And I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball.
We still wave 'Old Glory' down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all.

And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all,
In Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA.

John Bridge
01-09-2003, 07:46 PM
Okies, yep. :D

I just realized something. Sonnie's almost an Okie. Nuther hunderd miles an heed be wun. :D

01-10-2003, 08:49 AM
John, let me tell you something that I've notice. There is a 90% probability that anyone living in Texas whose first name ends with an "ie" is originally from Oklahoma.:D

John Bridge
01-10-2003, 06:09 PM

Sonnie Layne
01-11-2003, 12:04 AM
Garrett, you're right about the song, I'll have to get a copy.

DID YOU KNOW????... That Okie from Muskogee was written by Merle and his bassplayer as a joke?? It sure raised a lot of fuss to have been written in a light-hearted manner.

01-11-2003, 07:03 AM
Sonnie, I can't take any credit for knowing about CW music. The construction guy that I work with on my projects is originally from Dumas, Texas but has been in Oklahoma for the past 40 years. Anyway, this guy--Steve-- is a walking encyclopedia of CW lyrics, song titles, singers, etc. Ditto for sports information. Anyway, I just told him the lyrics that you supplied and that was his answer.:D

01-13-2003, 08:36 AM
How do I remove the tank on the toilet so I can get to the tile and remove the wall behind it?

01-13-2003, 10:20 AM
Take the whole thing out, Jeanne, from the floor. Much easier to work on the wall that way. Less chance of misplaced hammer blows to the toilet bowl. :(

Just take off the two nuts at the base of the bowl, one on each side, maybe under little plastic covers that pop off with a twist of the screwdriver. The nuts may be frozen. If you're lucky they'll snap off when you lay on some torque. If not, cut them off with a reciprocating say - oh, yeah, you'll always need one of them anyway. :)

Then just lift it off the floor - but first turn off the water and disconnect the water line from the bottom of the tank. Yep, don't forget that. Then flush the toilet so the tank gets mostly empty - lots lighter that way. Pick the whole thing up by straddling it, lifting it between your legs and walking funny until it's out of the way. Or, better, get somebody else to do that part. :p

Oh, to answer your actual question, there are two big screws inside the tank, on the bottom, with nuts on the outside of the bottom. You'll need new rubber washers and a big rubber gasket to re-assemble it. Can get at your local HD as a kit.

Sonnie Layne
01-13-2003, 10:21 AM
Turn off the water to the water supply line at the wall.
flush the tank, use a sponge to remove that last 1/2" or so of water.
Disconnect the water supply line at the bottom of the tank.
There are two bolts that hold the tank to the bowl, typically there are wingnuts under the bowl. Remove the nuts, and the tank will lift straight up.

You may find it necessary to remove the bowl as well, depending on the clearance between it and the wall.


01-13-2003, 10:46 AM
:bow: Thanks, I think this project may be the end of my weekend warrior days.

Since I've had some prior disasters with the water not really being off. How do I know the water is really off?

and how do I disconnect the water supply?

I have about 2-3 inches of clearance between the bowl and the wall.

I have removed all the other tile and approximately one inch of the concrete layer halfway around the bathroom so I can then begin tearing out the "chicken wire" remaining.

01-13-2003, 04:41 PM
The water line coming out of the toilet should be connected to a valve near the floor. Close that valve and flush the toilet. If it doesn't fill back up, it's off. To remove the line, there is a hollow nut on the valve that the line goes through. Remove that nut and the line will pull out.

01-13-2003, 05:15 PM
I once spend a couple of hours trying to get those darn floor bolts loose from some damn toilet in Odenton, MD. I finally went and got my sledge hammer. Yep, 3 minutes later that stool was history. Boy, did I feel good!!:p :p

01-13-2003, 05:33 PM
Uh, Jeanne?

Don't be advised by Garrett!:shake:

There are better ways to remove the device. :shades:

But I'll admit it's tempting sometimes. Good on you, Garrett. :D

01-14-2003, 06:34 PM
The funny thing is, cx, that since that incident I have not had one problem with those darn toilet floor bolts. :yeah:

You think they're afraid of me now?:p

Sonnie Layne
01-15-2003, 02:03 PM
I once cracked a rather expensive toilet as a result of tightening one of the flange bolts too tightly. I've been gun shy ever since. Anyone have an idea as to the ft. lbs. of torque one can rely on?

01-28-2003, 10:19 AM
checking back in to let you know the tile is now gone! I am calling in a plumber to remove the sink. Sorry guys, just didn't think I could do it on my own.

I didn't have to remove the toilet to get the tile behind. :p

My question now is just so I can feel smug with my husband about all the money I'm saving him. . . If I had to pay someone to tear out the tile going halfway up and halfway around the room that is 7 1/2 ft. by 4.5 ft w by 8ft ceiling plus replace wallboard plus do venetian plaster on the walls, install new countertop tile and handpaint matching scenes to the tile on the front of cabinet doors, what would I be looking at in costs?:D

01-28-2003, 06:24 PM
Jeanne, I too am a home handy ma'am and my hubby is my support crew. (Well basically he just cheers me on, but that's ok)
After all the years of renovating/restoring old houses he knows better than to quibble over ANY of my tool purchases!

Just for fun I started keeping track of the hours I'm spending on our current "this old house" and basically I've had a PT job redoing the old girl. I sent him "the bill" for 2002 and man it was easy to gain support for that fancy stainless steel range I've been drooling over for my newly redone kitchen. And, I have a motorcycle habit to support :D :D

You could use the going rate for a handyman (or ma'am) in your area, factor in your skill level, rework, etc. and draw up the cost from there. But I've found that the respect I get, the pride of a job well done, and the confidence gained to be one of the best perks. Plus, now I'm starting to do some tile jobs for others and getting paid for it. Can ya believe it?

Keep up the good work, post some pics when you're done, and don't give up. Everytime you go into that new bathroom that you did you're gonna love it! :cool:

06-15-2003, 07:25 PM
How do you post your pictures?

John Bridge
06-15-2003, 08:53 PM
That you, Jeanne? :)

Make the pictures smaller than 50 KB each and you can post them right off your hard drive onto the forum reply. Click the "Browse" button at the bottom. You will have to register in order to see the button. You can post one picture per reply.

06-17-2003, 08:54 PM
:shades: This is after tearing out the tile. Notice the missing studs. It took me a couple of weekends to figure out how to attach them. My concrete drill bit wouldn't make a dent.

06-17-2003, 08:56 PM
:dance: I painted the front of the doors to match the accent tile on the counter and yes, I did the counter all by myself.

06-17-2003, 08:58 PM
the other angle

John Bridge
06-18-2003, 06:03 AM
Hi Jeanne,

Guess I forgot to tell you to turn you pictures right side up. Took me a while to figure out what was going on there. :D

The job looks magnifico! :)

06-18-2003, 12:53 PM
Thanks, it was a lot of work but I'm finished! Thanks for all your help!

John Bridge
06-18-2003, 07:03 PM
So, what's the next project? You ain't done till the whole house has been tiled. ;)

06-18-2003, 10:23 PM
I'm on to painting the outside of my house. I have thought about adding tiles to the risers going up the stairs to the second story and my mom would like me to put tile on front walk and front porch. Any hints for that besides using a level?

BTW, Here's the picture righted.

John Bridge
06-19-2003, 06:07 PM
I do like that color combo. I wouldn't get away with it around here, but I like it. ;)

06-19-2003, 07:11 PM
Jeanne, tell us about the surfaces your mom wants tiled. Concrete?

06-30-2003, 02:08 PM
It's concrete. The porch and sidewalk are all the same level so once you make the decision, you need to go all the way to the driveway which is about 20 ft. The porch itself is about 4ft deep by 10 ft. wide.

06-30-2003, 02:13 PM
Condition of the concrete: cracks, expansion joints, paint, divots, etc? I'm nosey! :D

07-01-2003, 03:11 PM
It's actually in pretty good shape. No cracks or old paint to remove. There are expansion joints every 18 in. (?) or so.

Sonnie Layne
07-01-2003, 03:24 PM
You'll need to allow those expansion joints to continue vertically through your tile install.